Redbridge headteachers demand more help as education funding in borough reaches ‘crisis point’
PUBLISHED: 09:30 25 April 2017
Redbridge’s schools are at “crisis point” as a result of recent funding cuts from central government, a panel of the borough’s headteachers has warned.
A group of nine of the borough’s headteachers met with Ilford North’s most recent MP Wes Streeting, who is currently running for reelection, to discuss their precarious situation.
The conglomerate of headteachers, who have recently written to the Department for Education urging for more funding, expressed their frustration at being so hamstrung by crippling budget cuts they were universally forced to make tough decisions.
Rebecca Drysdale, in charge at Ilford County High School, revealed her school had considered cancelling modern foreign languages lessons altogether in an effort to make savings.
And Andy Rehling, of Mayfield School in Goodmayes, said he had recently been asked for assurances by his school’s head of drama that the subject, and teaching of the arts in general, would not be cut from the school’s curriculum.
“This is something that is not new to us but we are at a crisis point because our schools’ budgets are now running a deficit,” Will Thompson, headteacher at Forest Academy, Hainault, told the meeting.
“We’ve trimmed all the fat and now we don’t know what to do next. That’s where we are at.”
Mr Streeting vowed to work hard to protect Redbridge’s schools.
He said: “Schools in London were a byword for failure when I was growing up in the 1980s in Tower Hamlets, and now London’s schools are the envy of the rest of the country.
“Redbridge’s schools are the envy of London and to see that being put at risk is really really worrying.
“One of the few good things about this election is that it gives us a chance to put pressure on Theresa May to reconsider her approach to education.”
Cllr Elaine Norman, Redbridge Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, admitted the current financial situation facing the borough’s schools left her “despondent”.
A Department for Education spokesman said school funding was now at its highest level on record at almost £41billion in the next academic year, with this rising to £42b by 2019-20.
He said: “We recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we will continue to provide support to help them use their funding in cost effective ways and make efficiencies.
“This includes improving the way they buy goods and services and our recently published School Buying Strategy is designed to help schools save over £1bn a year by 2019-20 on non-staff spend.”
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